Ken & Sues
My wonderful friend Sue owns and operates this great restaurant. Steak, seafood and meatloaf? There are also some great salads on the menu. This is my personal favorite restaurant in all of Durango. Be sure and order your flourless chocolate cake 20 minutes before you are done, and also be sure you get a reservation, this place is popular. They also have mind-boggling martinis.
If you have a special occasion and want some amazing food to celebrate, this is the place. My favorite is the Seafood Stew with Saffron Capenellini, but the lobster burger is good too. If you go at happy hour, you will be very happy with the price.
Now there are a lot of restaurants in Durango and this is the one our family goes to the most. It is authentic tacos, and reasonably priced. I recommend the Nayarita Margarita with the Nopal, Cachete, and Lengua Tacos. Just fabulous, but do expect to wait in line unless you go early.
If you are going to Mesa Verde, or on a wine tour to the vineyards up Mcelmo Canyon, or a hike up La Plata Canyon, …then you want to stop at the Kennebeck Café on your way home to Durango. Great service, great wine, great food. They also have an outstanding brunch on the weekends.
4 County Rd 124Hesperus, CO 81326
Phone number(970) 247-5674
If you are a “chili head” then you need to go to Gaspachos for their green chili. It’s a Durango Icon. The red and green chili with blue corn and pisole are the epitome of good New Mexican food, and the Bandito Margarita is also a favorite of mine. Yum.
431 E 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301
This Western-style restaurant is right by the Durango train station. The Palace has great food and a great kids menu. I just love to sit on the patio in the summer and have some good food while soaking up the people and the excitement of the train. We will often take our little ones here.
505 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
If you don’t want to spend a lot and you like Thai Food you are in luck. These ladies are from Thailand, and they are such nice people as well as great cooks! We order to go in the summer and eat it on the lawn in front of the Durango Train Station. The kids love it because they get noodles and then can run around and roll in the grass while the train comes in! My son says “For-real-life that was super-fun!” You can call in an order and pick it up usually in about 10 minutes.
519 1/2 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301-5422
To experience a real ranch, where they grow their own grass fed cattle, see the amazing views of the North Valley, and eat some of the best chili and burgers you will ever have well… James Ranch is the place. The James Ranch burger is kind of famous with the local crowd, and my other favorite; the steak sandwich with caramelized onions. They also have great salads, gluten free buns, and a little farm shop where you can buy your own ingredients from the ranch. This is a very special place to experience and can make a great day without a ton of driving. You can go on tours of the ranch and we have been going to Story time for kids this summer. Very fun.
Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours
These guys have been around for a long time, I think as long as I have been in Durango, which is about 24 years. They do a great job guiding you down the Animas and keeping everyone safe (but wet)! Rafting is such a fun thing to do with a group in the hot part of the summer.
Mesa Verde National Park
Folks come from all over the world to see this amazing park and its ruins. Our family went last summer and we had the best tour ever. I would recommend that you go early and stop at the visitor’s center first to book your tour. Very knowledgeable park rangers lead the tours, and they tell you some incredible stories about the history of these cliff dwellings. If you have a long day at the park you might want to go to Kennebec Café on your way back to Durango.
Fox Fire Farm
On Friday nights all summer from 6-9 they have music and wine. Now I would go, but I don’t know who would drive me home… but I have heard from fiends that this is a great place to visit day or night. I have tried their wine and its pretty great. I will make a point to go this summer and then update this with more information.
5513 Co Rd 321, Ignacio, CO 81137
Second Avenue Sports
This is my recommendation for bike rental and ski rental. At Second Avenue Sports you can get anything related to biking, snowboarding, skiing, clothes and gear for adults and kids. They have a full service bike, ski and snowboard shop. They sometimes have good used bikes.
640 E 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301
If you want to go on a horseback ridding in the mountains this is the place I would recommend. I have known Ann Rapp for many years and she is such a great lady, and magnificent horsewoman. She rents really nice, well cared for horses, and also does sleigh rides in the winter around Christmas. Santa (our neighbor) drives the sleigh, drawn by some mighty fine draft horses. The Rapp Corral is up by purgatory, and right by Haviland Lake. A great place to go have a picnic, go for a hike or ride, and hang out by a beautiful mountain lake.
51 Haviland Lake Rd, Durango, CO 81301
This is our fly-fishing store, right downtown Durango. This place is great for advice, guides, fishing gear and clothes. Now I don’t fish, but I have witnessed some huge trout being caught in the river below Wal Mart, right below the Humane Society Thrift Store. That’s my hot tip, but you might ask at Duranglers to be sure.
923 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
Trimble Hot Springs
We love Trimble. There is a big swimming pool to swim and play in, and a big hot springs pool. The hot springs pool is untreated water that constantly refreshes from the earth. There is also a really hot pool, and a sauna in case you are not hot enough. The grounds are beautiful with big lawns to set up your blankets and towels on. This is a very kid friendly place, and I would recommend going for the day to hang out and have a picnic! Or go on your way back from skiing or from James Ranch.
6475 Co Rd 203, Durango, CO 81301
Our good friend Ben is the manager here, and they have the best outdoor gear in Durango. Great brands and great advice for hiking, camping, and mountaineering you might want to do. If I buy new clothes, this is where I spend my hard earned money because they sell stuff that is comfortable and it will last. Check out their map section if you want an adventure, these guys know the area well and can set you up for fun and safety. If you are exploring the River Trail, Backcountry is right off of it.
1205 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO 81301
White Rabbit Books
This is right on the River Trail near Backcountry Experience and the Durango Discovery Museum. We like to make a day of this and also go to the Fish Hatchery and then Animas Brewery for dinner. White Rabbit is a very unique books and curiosities shop with everything from jewelry to ice cream. The Owner loves little kids and the parents love the books. Highly recommended.
128 W 14th St C-2, Durango, CO 81301
This is a real bookstore, locally owned and independent. If you need a book to burry yourself in while you are on vacation go here. They have such a great selection. Love it!
960 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
Southwest Book Trader
This is a very entertaining little bookstore. They have so many books you have to see it to believe it. Antiques, art, camping gear, and all things retro are also here to amaze you. This is right next to the Downtown Movie Theater and the Train Station Downtown.
175 E 5th St, Durango, CO 81301
Pine Needle Mountaineering
This is the High-End gear store in Durango. If you have a certified Gear-Head in the family they will love it. They also have travel clothes. Pine Needle and Backcountry Experience are similar but they carry different brands.
835 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
Lively (a boutique)
This is my favorite little downtown boutique with fresh style, and good price point, on quality clothes. The Owner is a great lady and will help you choose.
809 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
The best chocolate (and coffee) in Durango. We go here for hot chocolate religiously in the winter. They make handmade chocolate right there while you are belly up at the chocolate bar, all while you enjoy your beverage and more chocolate. The owner is so nice and it makes great gifts to send home.
2800 Main Ave Durango, CO 81301